Program of Study in Intellectual Property and Technology Law
Intellectual property is one of the fastest-growing legal specialties in the United States, and increasingly in the world. Notre Dame Law School’s Program of Study in Intellectual Property and Technology Law prepares students to practice in a wide variety of intellectual property-related fields. Our faculty teach basic and advanced courses in the core doctrines of intellectual property (IP)—patent, copyright, trademark and unfair competition—and related fields including design, cyberlaw, and antitrust.
Prominent practicing IP lawyers serve as adjunct professors, bringing their specialized expertise to the classroom and providing valuable mentoring and networking opportunities for students. And students can develop important practice skills through externships and/or participation in our unique Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic.
Core Intellectual Property Courses
The Law School offers individual courses in Patent, Copyright, and Trademarks and Unfair Competition. These courses provide semester-long treatments of each of these core areas of IP, and they serve as building blocks for advanced courses and experiential learning.
For students who want to explore a particular intellectual property-related topic in more depth, IP faculty leaders are available to supervise directed readings in their various areas of expertise. While each faculty member determines the specific requirements for directed readings conducted under their supervision, in general such directed readings involve reading more in-depth materials than are covered in the regularly offered courses and writing a legal research paper on the topic chosen in cooperation with that faculty member.
Intellectual Property Survey provides a broad-based introduction to the three main areas of IP law – patent, copyright, and trademark. The course, which introduces students to the major doctrines in each area, is most useful for two groups of students: those who are exploring IP for the first time to determine whether it is an area in which they wish to focus; and those who intend to develop a general commercial or business practice and need some exposure IP issues.
Advanced Intellectual Property Courses
In addition to the core intellectual property courses, the Law School offers a number of advanced courses that build on the knowledge and skills developed in the core courses. For example, in the last two academic years, the Law School has offered the following courses in:
Information Technology Law
Intellectual Property Licensing
Patent Drafting & Prosecution
Trade Dress and Design Law (a capstone-style course)
And we have offered the following seminars:
Advanced Topics in Unfair Competition
Intellectual Property & International Justice
Intellectual Property & Norm-Based Alternatives
International Intellectual Property
Antitrust, Technology and Intellectual Property Seminar.
The Law School also offers a number of courses in related fields that are quite relevant to the practice of IP law, including:
Behavioral Analysis of Law
Bioethics and the Law Seminar
Drug & Medical Device Law
International Art Law Seminar
International Business Transactions
Law & Economics Seminar
Law & The Entrepreneur
Telecommunications Regulation Seminar
The Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic
The Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic operates as a small, boutique law firm focused on assisting clients with transactional IP issues. The purpose of the Clinic is to provide students with valuable experience in applying substantive intellectual property law to real-world problems, and to produce high-caliber work product for Clinic clients. Exemplary matters include preparing patentability and trademark opinions, filing and prosecuting patent and trademark applications, drafting license agreements, as well as counseling clients on a range of intellectual property matters.
Second and third year law students work directly with clients under the close supervision of the Clinic Director, Jodi Clifford, a patent attorney who has substantial private practice experience. The Clinic includes a classroom component focused on substantive intellectual property law and core practice skills, including patent and trademark search techniques and analysis, legal opinion writing, client communication and interviewing. Clinic students take primary responsibility for the cases and clients to which they are assigned.
Students are required to apply for participation in the Clinic and are selected by the Director for admission on a semester-by-semester basis.
Master of Science in Patent Law
Law School students are able to take classes for credit toward their JD in Notre Dame’s MS in Patent Law program. The MS in Patent Law classes are designed to teach students the skills necessary to help inventors prepare patent applications and obtain patents. Most MS in Patent Law classes are taught by practicing patent attorneys and agents, who bring real-world experience into the classroom. MS in Patent Law courses that can be taken for Law School credit include:
Patent Prosecution Law I
Patent Prosecution Law II
Patent Application Drafting
The MS in Patent Law additionally hosts a regular Friday Lunch-and-Learn seminar series on home football weekends in the fall semester, and on every weekend in the spring semester. Guest speakers at these seminars have included the lead IP litigator at GE, a patent prosecution attorney at Eli Lilly, and practicing lawyers and patent agents from both general practice firms and IP boutiques across the country. These seminars are also open to Law School students.
For more information about this Program of Study in Intellectual Property and Technology Law, please contact Professor Mark P. McKenna.